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(Gen 23:1 - 25:18)

B'resheet/Genesis 23:17   So the field of Efron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre ... was made over (ESV)

The verb that is used in this verse, from the root , means literally 'and he arose' or 'he rose up'. This verb is found in Isaiah 60:1 , "Arise! Shine!" It will also be familiar from the words canted as the Torah is taken from the Ark and processed around the congregation on Shabbat morning: , "Arise, O L-rd, and let Your enemies be scattered" (B'Midbar 10:35). This is a sufficiently unusual use of the verb in this verse that it attracts the attention of the commentators. Who Is ...

Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105 CE), French rabbi who wrote commentaries on the Torah, the Prophets and the Talmud, lived in Troyes where he founded a yeshiva in 1067; focuses on the plain meaning (p'shat) of the text, although sometimes quite cryptic in his brevity
Rashi, for example, comments that although the simple meaning (p'shat) of the verse is that the field stood as Avraham's purchase, the field has an arising, an ascension in itself, because it "left the possession of a commoner for the possession of a king".

Consider what this means: the field, the first piece of Eretz Yisra'el to be legally owned by our people, was elevated - became more holy - when it was transferred into Avraham's ownership. But doesn't the Torah tell us that the whole land belongs to G-d and is His to give, so that it is all holy? Yes, it does, but although G-d is in possession of the freehold, peoples other than Avraham and his descendants either held a lease on the land or had declared squatters' rights to the areas where they lived so that although Avraham walked the length and breadth of the land as G-d had commanded him, this was the only piece where G-d's authority and demonstrated "on the ground". So Ephron's field arose when it entered Avraham's ownership.

How much more then is there a change in status when we turn to G-d, confess our sins and enter fully into His kingdom, accepting the yoke of Yeshua as L-rd. Just as Avraham counted out four hundred shekels of silver to purchase Ephron's field, Rav Sha'ul tells us that "you were bought with a price" (1 Cor 6:20, CJB). We are owned by G-d; although we were already His, for He made us, He bought us back - redeemed us from the enemy who had claimed squatters' rights in our lives because of our sin. Yeshua says that "whoever hears what I am saying and trusts the one who sent Me has eternal life", he has "already crossed over from death to life!" (John 5:24, CJB). Kefa speaks of those who have been "called out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9, NASB) and Rav Sha'ul quotes Yeshua's words to him when he (Sha'ul) was told to "open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to G-d" (Acts 26:18, NASB). When we undergo that change, we also arise, we are elevated in holiness, for we are brought into G-d's kingdom and ownership.

Further Study: Shoftim 6:11-24; John 9:24-25

Application: How many times have you heard believers refer to themselves as sinners, even if "a sinner saved by grace"? This is simply not true - we are the children of The King, full members of His kingdom, even if we do still sometimes sin and need to ask forgiveness. Throw off the lie and stand tall in your real nature: you are a son or daughter of The King!

© Jonathan Allen, 2004

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